fresh voices from the front lines of change







Republicans are threatening a scheme to block yet another part of the government - the NLRB, this time - from functioning, for the purpose of enriching the 1% while driving even more of us out of the middle class. Senate Republicans are participating in this scheme by blocking approval of any nominees to fill vacancies. The President has the Constitutional power to solve to this problem: adjourn the Congress and appoint people to keep government operating. That's called governing.

Here's what's going on. By law, the job of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is "to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy."

The NLRB has to have at least 3 board members to function. Currently they are down to that minimum of 3. A current board member, a Republican, is threatening to quit, bringing the number below three, in order to prevent the NLRB from being able to do its job of protecting working people from being exploited by the power of the giant corporations. Senate Republicans have vowed to block ANY nominees to fill the vacancies, period, in order to keep the number on the board below the required minimum and therefore keep the agency from operating.

NY Times: Republican Might Quit Labor Board,

The labor board’s sole Republican member, Brian E. Hayes, has threatened to resign to deny the N.L.R.B. the three-person quorum it needs to make any decisions, according to board officials. Mr. Hayes has made his threat expressly to block the Democratic-dominated board from adopting new rules to speed up unionization elections, which the board’s other current members, both Democrats, intend to pass Nov. 30.

This is not politics, this is not bipartisanship, this is intentional obstruction to keep the government from operating. It is being done as pay-for-play; giant, powerful corporations are paying Republicans cash to obstruct the government from operating, so they can reduce wages and benefits and send even more jobs out of the country, and make more money for the 1%.

What the President Must Do

The government is being prevented from operating as intended by law and Constitution. The President must use his executive power to govern -- to administer the agencies of government, keeping it operating in the service of We, the People. The Constitution gives him the power -- and therefore the responsibility -- to do so.

The United States Constitution: Article II: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.

Unfilled Vacancies? Constitutional Solution: Recess Appointments

The Constitution anticipates circumstances when the government needs appointments filled on order to operate, and spells out what the President's job is that happens. This clause didn't imagine that members would actually block all nominations as part of a pay-for-play scheme to keep the government from operating, but it applies to the need to fill unfilled vacancies.

Article II Section 2: The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

The Constitution demands that the President keep the government running as intended under the law, by filling vacancies even when they can't be approved by the Senate.

Adjourn And Appoint

The President can make -- in fact has the responsibility to make -- recess appointments. So as part of this scheme-for-pay to keep the government from operating, House Republicans have been playing a silly game that makes it seem as if the Congress is not in recess, when it is in recess. The Constitution anticipated such a circumstance and offers a simple way to fix this.

Article II Section 3: ...he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper;

The Senate is controlled by Democrats, all they have to do is declare they disagree with the House and want to adjourn, and the President can adjourn them both and make appointments. The President not only has the power to do this, he has the responsibility to do this.

Mr. President adjourn the Congress and appoint the necessary NLRB members, judges, etc to get this government back in operation for We, the People.

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